Spring Bounty at the Farmers Market 

Beautiful spring weather is here to stay and with that, I’m back to my weekend trips to the farmers market for the season’s bounty. I love cooking with farm fresh ingredients and this time I used some farm fresh ingredients to elevate Pithla, the traditional Maharastrian Chickpea Flour Stew. Presenting the Maharashtrian Pithla with Green Garlic and Green Red Onion.

Maharashtrian Pithla with Green Garlic and Green Red Onion

Maharashtrian Pithla 

Pithla, a humble comfort food, was prepared quite often in my home while I was growing up. Mom (and my grandmothers as well) whipped it up as a quick and easy side dish, without many bells and whistles. They simply sautéed some onions with green chilies in turmeric and mustard-scented oil. Once the onions turned soft, a chickpea flour slurry was poured into the mix, along with some salt and sugar, and stirred continuously over low heat until it thickened and cooked completely.

Maharashtrian Pithla with Green Garlic and Green Red Onion

Whether spooned over steamed Ambe Mohar rice or served alongside bajrichi bhakri (unleavened pearl millet flour flatbread) or jwarichi bhakri (unleavened sorghum flour flatbread), it was pure bliss!

Elevating the Humble Pithla

With the green garlic and the green red onion I picked up from my farmers’ market, I elevated the simple dish. If you can’t find fresh green garlic, it is available in the frozen section of Indian stores. You can absolutely make it with regular garlic and scallions/green onions that are easily available in any grocery store.

Maharashtrian Pithla with Green Garlic and Green Red Onion

Now, buttermilk is typically not used in the classic recipe, but I love to add it. It gives the stew a mellow sour flavor that’s simply out of this world! Give it a try and see for yourself! I’ve linked a short video below that I put together for you that you can follow and easily whip up this signature concoction in your own kitchen.

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Maharashtrian Pithla with Green Garlic and Green Red Onion

  • Author: Vasanti
  • Yield: Serves 2-3 1x


  • 1 cup chickpea flour (besan)
  • salt, as needed
  • 1 cup buttermilk (see Notes)
  • 2 cups water (see Notes)
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil of choice
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 23 Thai green chilies, sliced, optional
  • 12 medium green garlic, chopped (see Notes)
  • 1 medium green red onion, thinly sliced (see Notes)
  • 45 sprigs of cilantro/coriander leaves, chopped


  • In a medium bowl, whisk the chickpea flour with salt, buttermilk and water until the mixture is smooth and lump free. Set aside until ready to use.
  • In a deep sauté pan or a kadhai, heat the oil and add in the mustard seeds along with asafoetida and turmeric. Throw in the green chilies, if using, followed by the chopped green garlic.
  • Sauté for 2-3 minutes and then stir in the sliced green red onion. Sprinkle some salt to help the onions sweat and continue sautéing for 4-5 minutes till they soften.
  • Turn the heat down to low and then pour in the chickpea flour – buttermilk mixture.
  • Cook on low heat, stirring continuously. Scrape the sides of the pan occasionally.
  • The mixture will cook and thicken in about 8-10 minutes. Let it simmer for a couple more minutes till you see large bubbles.
  • Take it off the heat. Garnish with chopped cilantro/coriander leaves and serve hot spooned over steamed rice or millet breads.

Keywords: Maharashtrian Recipes, Comfort Foods, Healthy Recipes

Step-by-Step Details

Recipe FAQ’s and Notes

No Buttermilk?

Buttermilk is not a typical ingredient for the traditional recipe. If you don’t have it, you can simply use the same amount, 1 cup of water or a mixture of ½ cup yogurt + ½ cup of water.

Veggie Broth is a good option

Instead of water, you can use vegetable stock to add more flavor to the stew.

Green Garlic Substitute

If you can’t find green garlic, you can use 3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped.

Green Red Onions Substitute

If you can’t find green red onions, you can use 3-4 medium scallions or green onions.

Recipe Variations

Stir in leafy vegetables like chopped spinach, fenugreek leaves, etc. along with the onions and garlic for a vitamin boost!

Happy cooking

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Hi I’m Vasanti
…and I ❤️cooking ‘n clicking!!
I share a modern take on Indian cuisine made using nontraditional techniques and ingredients, while staying true to its authenticity. You’ll also find classic recipes from my beloved Maharashtrian culture and heritage.


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